Visiting Bangsar Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur today I noticed an exhibition displaying cartoons by the famous cartoonist Mohammad Nor Khalid or Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid – more commonly know as Lat. Lat is a very well known cartoonist in Malaysia with many of his cartoons appearing in the editorial pages of the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times.
Lat was born 5th March 1951 in Kota Baru, Perak, not to be confused with Kota Bharu the capital of Kelantan. He had a wonderful talent for drawing as a child and drew excellent comics. At the age of 9, his gifted talent began to yield his family income. His first real book was Tiga Sekawan, a story about three friends who banded together to catch robbers. The book was published in his sixth year at Jalan Pasir Puteh Primary School in Ipoh. His publisher paid him 25 Ringgit for his service. By 1968, Lat was earning 100 Ringgit a month from his work.
He later moved to Kuala Lumpur to become a cartoonist. Lat was offered a position to join the New Straits Times as a crime reporter but later on became a cartoonist. He started with an editorial comic strip called ‘Scenes of Malaysia’, then was known for the comic strip published weekly called ‘Keluarga SiMamat”.His first book Kampung Boy, an autobiography of his life was published in 1979 and sold thousands of copies within three months. Kampung Boy was published in France by a French publisher. An American edition of Kampung Boy was published by First Second Books in August 2006. This was the first of his books to be published in the United States. His second American release, Town Boy, is scheduled for release in October 2007. His cartoons reflect his view about Malaysian life and the world. Another famous Lat comic book is ‘Mat Som’, a story of a young teenager’s discovery of the new world of capitalism. It shows illustrations of insight view in Kuala Lumpur city.
His cartoons have been published in several cartoon books in Malaysia and he is famous throughout the country. Lat’s latest book is Dr Who?!, dedicated to Mahathir bin Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah.